PEPFAR bill may lift US HIV travel and residency ban

Simon Collins, HIV i-Base

US Senate changes to the PEPFAR bill (see above) included a measure (by senators John Kerry (Democrat) and Gordon Smith (Republican), that would reverse the 15-year statutory ban on HIV-positive people visiting the US or seeking residency. This news has been widely publicised and celebrated by community advocates who have seen this issue ignored by successive US administrations, but still have to wait until the required bureaucracy to see this approved in law.

Technically the ban is still not lifted, but it has being changed from a statutory to an administrative ban. The bill gives the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the authority to remove HIV from the list of diseases that currently require visitors to declare their medical (HIV) status and apply for visas. Tourism and visiting family of friends is not included as a valid reason to issue a visa.

This change by the HHS is unlikely before November 2008 and a further 2 years are expected before this passes into federal law.

Further links: ACT-UP pages on the history of the travel ban

Links to other websites are current at date of posting but not maintained.